This is Ceres, In All Its 3-D Glory

posted: 06/08/15
by: Danny Clemens
Ceres animation still

We now have an even more complete view of Ceres, the dwarf planet situated between Mars and Jupiter. Using more than 80 images from its Dawn space probe, NASA has constructed a 3-D animation of Ceres.

"We used a three-dimensional terrain model that we had produced based on the images acquired so far," said Dawn team member Ralf Jaumann, of the German Aerospace Center. "They will become increasingly detailed as the mission progresses -- with each additional orbit bringing us closer to the surface."

Two separate Ceres flybys provided the imagery for this reconstruction: one from an altitude of 8,400 miles, and a more recent flyby from 3,200 miles. Overlapping images provided the three-dimensional detail, which NASA exaggerated for the video.

Dawn made history earlier this year when it became the first space mission to visit a dwarf planet. Ceres is home to one of the astronomy community's most talked-about mysteries: several unexplained bright spots that appeared on the dwarf planet's surface, first observed by Dawn in March. Leading theories posit that the bright spots could represent a volcano, a geyser, ice or a large salt deposit.

Click here to watch the video on NASA's website

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